5 Years of Success for the DPS

All private landlords and letting agents taking deposits for assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales are required to safeguard them with a Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.

The Deposit Protection Service (DPS), which is the only custodial scheme, celebrated it’s 5th birthday on April 6th this year, having proved popular as the only deposit protection scheme which is free to use for all landlords, letting agents and tenants.

The DPS is currently protecting it’s highest number of deposits at a single point in time ever, at 870,000.  These deposits are worth £685 million, for 300,000 landlords and letting agents and over 1,250,000 tenants.

During the last five years:

Over 59,000 landlords have registered with the scheme each year

Over 4,000 letting agents have signed up every month

The scheme has seen an average annual growth in the number of tenancies of 42%

During 2011:

Over 62,000 new landlords registered

The number of live deposits protected increased by 144,109

Over 53,000 deposit repayments took place each month

The number of deposits paid into The DPS topped 500,000

September 2011 was the highest month during the five years for deposit repayments – reaching 69,000

The DPS offers a free adjudications service to help landlords and tenants resolve any disputes over the amount of a deposit to pay back to the tenant and/or landlord.  Last year, 6056 adjudications took place. 966 (16%)were awarded solely to landlords, 2157 (36%) were awarded solely to tenants and 2933 (48%) were given a split award

Over the five years, The DPS has also seen a reduction in the numbers of emails and calls from landlords, letting agents and tenants, thanks to several service innovations.

In 2010, the scheme launched an SMS service to help tenants get their deposits returned as quickly as possible.  Once there is agreement from the landlord and the tenant, repaying a deposit takes just two days.  The most common delay to this is landlords and tenants who lose their repayment IDs.  The SMS service provides a fast way for them to receive repayment ID reminders.

The DPS also launched an online customer service agent, ‘Emma’.  Kevin Firth, Director of The DPS, explained: “Enhancing our customer service channels by introducing the virtual agent was an important step.  It’s crucial for tenants to have access to enough information as often they are less familiar with the process when it comes to protecting their deposits, and Emma is another tool which allows them quick and easy access to the answers they need.”

Following the set up of The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011, the company behind The DPS (Computershare Investor Services PLC) has also created The Letting Protection Service Scotland (The LPS Scotland), which is the first Scottish Government Approved deposit protection scheme.

Kevin Firth commented: “We are delighted to be approved by the Scottish Government to operate a tenancy deposit scheme in Scotland and will be building on the popularity of the scheme in England and Wales

“We’re proud to be delivering deposit protection to such a significant volume of tenants, landlords and agents particularly as we did not have an existing member base.  It’s been great to see so many landlords and letting agents positively choosing to safeguard their tenants’ deposits with us over the last five years.”

For more information about The DPS, visit www.depositprotection.com.

To find out more about The LPS Scotland, visit www.lettingprotectionscotland.com.

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